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Review: 'John Dies at the End'

February 15, 2013 10:37 p.m.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando reviews "John Dies at the End"

Related Story: Review: 'John Dies At The End'


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: “John Dies at the End” was written as a webserial in 2001. It has now been made into a movie that opens today at Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando says the film is destined to be a cult hit.


CLIP Solving the following riddle will reveal the secret of the universe, assuming you do not go utterly mad in the process.

“John Dies at the End” should carry a drug label warning: caution consumption of this film may induce hallucinations, and impair your ability to see the world as you once did.

CLIP It heightens your senses, I don’t know, it’s like when you’re on it it’s like overload.

It may also cause outbursts of uncontrolled laughter. This film is a throwback to mind-altering and genre-bending films like Videodrome, and the literary works of Philip K. Dick and William S. Borroughs. But the tone is lightened by a pair of slacker dudes who seem only a few IQ points above Bill and Ted. The world needs saving but all it’s going to get are college dropouts John and Dave. The cause of the impending apocalypse is a drug known as soy sauce. It endows users with a freaky clairvoyance and the ability to drift through time and space… it can also transform them into alien beings.

CLIP “Whoa.”

Director Don Coscarelli gave us Phantasm and Bubba Ho-Tep, a pair of cult gems. He displays his supreme originality yet again with John Dies at the End. What’s great is that Coscarelli takes an absurd premise, presents it as perfectly plausible, and along the way considers serious ideas without ever taking himself too seriously. So fasten your seatbelts for the delirious high of John Dies at the End.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.